Pro: Downton is a pop-culture phenomenon; its patriarch, an instantly iconic (and fabulously flawed) father figure.
Con: Let's face it — the men of Downton are about as likely to be shown some love by Emmy as the servants of Downton are to be shown some respect by their masters.
Pro: Emmy has a major heart-on for this guy – he’s been nominated for The Sopranos, 30 Rock and his current series' rookie season.
Con: Boardwalk Empire is no Sopranos. And if someone has to get cut to make way for the category’s new blood (Kelsey Grammer, Damian Lewis, etc.), he's likely to be it.
Pro: He's made good at the Emmys after all three of Bad's previous seasons. And some consider his work in Season 4 to be his strongest yet.
Con: Um… er… ARE there any? Good luck, everybody who's not named Bryan Cranston!
Pro: The erstwhile Frasier already has four Emmys in his war chest. And it doesn't take a psychic to see his Golden Globe win for Boss as Emmy foreshadowing.
Con: Boss‘ ratings were so abysmal, more people are likely to watch it on an Emmy screener than saw it on Starz.
Pro: Nominated every year since his show debuted, the serial thriller seems to be a hard habit for Emmy voters to break.
Con: Hard… but not impossible, especially seeing as Dexter is coming off of its weakest season to date, creatively speaking.
Pro: Don Draper's portrayer is the (handsome… so, so handsome) face of a show that has won the Emmy four years running.
Con: However, the smooth operator is still waiting for Season 5 to give him a "Suitcase"-size showcase.
Pro: Emmy loves to support big-screen stars when they downsize to the small screen. And if they have an Oscar, so much the better!
Con: In the drama's one season on the air, the only luck it had was in its title.
Pro: In Sons' strongest season to date, he was a revelation.
Con: If Katey Sagal can’t get a nomination, Hunnam's chances fall somewhere in the range of "slim to none" to "just none."
Pro: Whether you loved or loathed the show, you still couldn't deny that its star gave the performance of his career.
Con: Sadly, much of the buzz that greeted the series out of the gate disappeared as quickly as viewers did. Zzz.
Pro: Many feel the show, and especially its ensemble (led by this Six Feet Under alum), are long overdue for some Emmy recognition.
Con: Many others feel that the ship carrying the show's Emmy hopes has not only sailed, it's sunk.
Pro: Despite seven consecutive nominations, Laurie has never won for his work as Dr. Crankypants. So Emmy voters may prescribe themselves a “now or never” mentality.
Con: House is six feet under, and so too may be its leading man’s hopes of scoring a statuette.
Pro: See also: Hugh Laurie. This is Emmy’s last chance to recognize Leary for what has become his signature role.
Con: The last time the actor was nominated was five years ago. Plus, Rescue Me‘s final episode aired all the way back in September. Time is not on his side.
Pro: To say that Showtime’s terrorism saga has major Emmy heat would be like saying it's a little warm in Texas in July.
Con: Much of the acclaim that the show has received has (rightly) centered on Lewis' leading lady, Claire Danes — to the point where he might be not just overshadowed but forgotten.
Pro: Beyond the fact that AMC's monster mash is a megahit, its hero acted his guts out, especially early in the season, when his character's son was shot.
Con: Since Emmy reacts to genre shows like zombies do mannequins — it just passes them by — the deck is stacked against Lincoln.
Pro: In its second season, the Showtime drama gained momentum and a higher profile, which should translate into better odds of a nod for its star.
Con: SHOULD translate to better odds for Macy. But unfortunately won't. The show was passed over for its first season, and this time around, competition in this category is arguably stiffer.
Pro: Last year, the gun-slinger made off with his first-ever nod. So all he has to do this year is convince history to repeat itself.
Con: Fat chance. Justified‘s third season generated considerably less buzz than its second (you know, the one with Margo Martindale's Emmy-winning star turn).
Pro: Industry veteran. Solid performer. Oh, and he's Magnum freakin' P.I. Dude's an icon.
Con: If said icon was ever going to score a nod for his cop drama, it probably would’ve been last year, during its first season.
Pro: When he was on 24, his name was practically a part of the template for the Emmy nominations.
Con: He's not on 24 anymore. And his new series' ratings were so so-so that, for awhile there, it looked like its first season might be its last.